this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
on 80th year
On Wednesday morning, Aug.
20, Three Rivers Union School students
will begin the 2008/2009 school year.
The opening of the doors on this day will
mark 80 years of TRUS — 1928-2008.
In the late 19th century,
many small settlements grew along each
fork of the Kaweah River and schools became
established in several locations to educate
the area’s children.
Most students lived several
miles, at least, away from their respective
schools, and their mode of travel to and
from was by foot or on mule or horseback.
Many had to ford creeks or one or more
of the forks of the Kaweah along their
route to school. Some students would live
with relatives or another family nearer
to the school site during the week and
return home only on the weekends.
Cove School was founded Sept.
9, 1873, the first school in the area.
The school building was originally a log
cabin on the southwest side of the South
Fork of the Kaweah River in the area that
was known as Cherokee Flat and is today
the Cherokee Oaks subdivision. Many students
had to ford the South Fork of the Kaweah
River to attend school.
In 1885, the location of
Cove School was moved across the South
Fork river to property donated by Sam
Kelly at the present-day intersection
of Old Three Rivers and Blossom drives.
In 1910, the name of Cove School was changed
to Three Rivers School and, in 1917, a
new building for Three Rivers School replaced
the old clapboard one-room building.
In 1920, legislation passed
that required every elementary school
to become part of a high school district.
Three Rivers voters approved unionization
to the Woodlake High School District,
founded in 1914, over the more established
Exeter Union High School.
In 1927, the controversial
issue of unification was approved by local
voters and the Three Rivers Union School
District was formed. A new building that
consisted of two classrooms — one
that was originally intended to be the
auditorium — was constructed along
the state highway on the site where the
school is located today, and the far-flung
schools in the area were consolidated
into one. All Three Rivers students began
attending there in 1928; Mary McDowall
became the eighth-grade teacher, as well
as the first superintendent/principal,
a position she held until 1969.
School bus service began
in 1930, when a GMC Panel was confiscated
from a bootlegger and acquired by Sequoia
National Park, then donated to TRUS. Fred
Ogilvie was the bus driver, as well as
custodian, handyman, learning assistant,
disciplinarian, and more and was a fixture
at the school with his wife, Rena Alles
Ogilvie, until 1964.
In 1950, in lieu of relocating
the school site farther up the highway,
land was purchased on either side of the
present site. As a result, the upper athletic
field was created and a row of classrooms
added to the school’s existing four
Although the original auditorium
was partitioned off for classrooms and
plans for a gym scrapped due to the onset
of World War II, a state-of-the-art auditorium/gym/cafeteria
was finally built in 1994.
Although students no longer
have to wade through a river to get to
school and computers have replaced writing
slates in the classrooms, the goal at
Three Rivers School remains the same 80
years later: to give local children the
best possible elementary education in
a caring, nurturing, safe environment.
Letter from the superintendent
Community update from TRUS
By Sue Sherwood
It is time once again for
a new school year to begin. The staff
at Three Rivers Union School is excited!
We are all looking forward
to welcoming the students and parents
and anticipating a year filled with learning,
fun, excitement, challenges, and many
There are some changes at
TRUS this year. Our enrollment numbers
continue to decline, which is always difficult
to manage. We graduated a
class of 31 eighth-graders last year,
our largest class. We have 19 excited
kindergartners entering next week.
Suzanne Rich, a 30-year veteran teacher,
retired last year. She will be missed,
but we know she will not be gone. We will
be seeing her as a volunteer and substitute
The numbers in grades one
through four were such that the board
decided it was time to make some multi-grade
classrooms. Mrs. Melinda Simonian will
teach grades one/two, Mrs. Rika Pearson
will teach grades two/three, and Mrs.
Linda Warner will teach grades three/four.
They have all been meeting,
planning, and formulating ideas to address
the needs of all the children in their
classes. Teaching in a multi-age classroom
is a challenge but it can also be very
rewarding. The teachers will be assisted
by Mrs. Margaret Reyes, Mrs. Beth Rohrkemper,
and Mrs. Lynda LeFave as instructional
We will be shortening the
kindergarten day from 2 p.m. to 1:15.
That change will allow Mrs. Laura Harrison,
our kindergarten teacher, to join the
primary team for math instruction.
Grade level groups will come
together for the math hour. Mrs. Simonian
will teach first, Mrs. Pearson will teach
second, Mrs. Harrison will teach third,
and Mrs. Warner will teach fourth.
In addition, Mrs. Jami Beck,
Mrs. Kris Axtell, Mr. Manuel Garcia, and
Mrs. Katie Despain will teach in grades
five through eight, respectively.
The “After School Homework
Club” will again run Mondays through
Thursdays from 3:15 to 5 p.m. Mrs. Barbara
Merline will be the instructor.
This is a great way for students
to take care of homework before going
home. There is no charge for this service.
In addition, for our parents
who work down the hill or have other childcare
needs, we will offer afterschool care
on campus, privately run by Mrs. Robin
Pena, who also is the instructional aide
in kindergarten. This program goes from
1:15 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday,
and costs $3 per hour.
This is an inexpensive option
for parents who need this service.
Marcia Sweet, our band/music instructor
for eight years, retired (again) last
year. She built an incredible band program
at TRUS, and we are grateful our students
had the opportunity to learn from her
expertise, share her enthusiasm, and experience
her passion for music.
Marcia worked with me this
summer to find a replacement for the band/music
program. We have hired a bright, talented
young woman, Athena Saenz, to fill those
shoes. She is eager and ready to join
our staff. When you meet her, please welcome
her into our Three Rivers family.
Sue Winters Brown, our resident
resource teacher, will share her talents
by bringing language, music, and rhythm
activities to students in grades one through
three. The children know they are in for
some fun when they see her coming!
And, of course, last but
not least, the support staff: Gloria Crabtree,
Margaret Reyes, Lynda LeFave, Kris Hanggi,
James Irvin, and John Crabtree, our bus
driver, will be working to help keep things
running like a well-oiled machine.
In addition, the TRUS board
of trustees: Kristina Graber, Chantel
Medeiros-Horton, Bobbie Harris, Scott
Sherwood, and Bob Burke will lead and
support us throughout the school year.
As always, I am so impressed
by the support and encouragement our young
people receive from every aspect of the
community. From the individuals who donate
their time and talents to the art program,
to the people who support the TRUS Foundation
and Eagle Booster Club, to the community
organizations who contribute money and
time, to the churches and support groups
who offer encouragement and love, to the
volunteers who work in different ways
to enrich and strengthen our programs;
all of them are to be acknowledged and
applauded. I am proud to be part of such
an incredible community!
Raising children in today’s
world is hard and it takes a variety of
caring adults to help them become responsible,
productive, contributing citizens. All
of the staff at Three Rivers School is
committed to doing our part to make this
It’s obvious that 2008-2009
is going to be another great year. Thank
you, Three Rivers!
Sue Sherwood’s 13th year as TRUS
Work at Slick Rock
After several project redesigns
and years of planning, the construction
of the new boat ramp and parking lot at
the Slick Rock Recreation Area on the
east end of Lake Kaweah is underway. The
contractor, Eric Ammon Inc. of Northern
California, moved onto the site last week
and started moving dirt Tuesday, August
Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah’s
manager, said the design/build project
will cost approximately $1.5 million and
be completed by the end of the year.
“The contractor has actually been
involved with the project for the past
three years,” Deffenbaugh said.
“They also did part of the work
on the dike at the Best Western motel,
so they have experience working in Three
The enhancement of the recreational
facilities at Lake Kaweah was made possible
after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
officials secured a Cal Boating grant.
The project was planned to mitigate the
loss of some of the lake’s recreational
amenities due to the enlargement of the
basin in 2004.
Deffenbaugh says that the
local community will realize some immediate
benefits of the project as soon as the
2009 season. The location at the entrance
to Three Rivers is bound to drive some
more of the boaters and river swimmers
to retail services and tourist outlets
in Three Rivers.
The attractive design of
the new Slick Rock launching facility
will retain most of the boulders and character
of the landscape at the site. The new
road, which skirts the hill on the northeast
end of the existing parking area, features
an expansive view of the canyon where
the Kaweah River flows into Lake Kaweah.
This access road will share
its entrance with the existing Slick Rock
turnoff. This will eliminate traffic entering
and leaving the roadway from two points
in the vicinity.
Deffenbaugh also said there’s
an extensive bedrock mortar archaeological
site near the vicinity of the construction.
Richard Perry, an archaeologist with the
USACE, has been onsite to monitor grading
and protect the integrity of the cultural
Recreational users will be
able to access both the river and the
lake. The site with picnic areas and restrooms
will be open year-round from sunrise to
9 p.m. There will be a facilities host
to assist visitors and ensure that everyone
is aware of the fee to launch a boat or
park at the site.
Day users will pay $4 per
vehicle. A seasonal pass will also be
available for $30.
The rising and lowering of
water levels will create a range of recreational
opportunity that will change with the
“I think we will all be pleased
with the outcome of the project,”
Deffenbaugh said. “The parking area
is actually six or seven feet below the
level of the highway, so it won’t
be a distraction for passing motorists.”
Deffenbaugh also announced
that once the Slick Rock project is completed
he will turn his attention to building
a basin trail for non-motorized use around
the lake. Stay tuned.
Downed power lines
North Fork fire
Dozens of local homeowners
who live in isolation a few miles up the
forks of the Kaweah River wouldn’t
trade their peace and quiet for anything
or want to live anywhere else. But when
there’s an emergency, there can
be some anxious moments waiting for help
What happened to Harley Slate,
who lives four miles up the North Fork,
is a good case in point. Last Thursday,
Aug. 7, when he first heard a tree crash
to the ground, he had a feeling there
might be some repercussions.
What he heard next, at approximately
9:15 a..m., was the very distinctive crackling
of brush and downed branches being consumed
by an approaching brush fire.
“Talk about some anxious moments,”
recalled Annie Hays, who shares the North
Fork property with Harley. “It’s
a good thing we have an old rotary phone
because Harley used it to call the fire
department who otherwise might not have
arrived until it was too late.”
Annie, who was not at home
at the time the fire broke out, said it
was just a simple twist of fate that Harley
was still there at that time of morning.
He was home later than usual doing some
chores, but on a typical weekday would
have been long gone.
From the front porch, Harley
could see flames approaching as the down-canyon
morning breeze drove them toward the house.
“There really wasn’t much
Harley could do to stop the fire,”
Annie said, “because the moment
the oak tree fell, the power went off.”
Annie said there’s
an old pump and small water-storage tank
nearby but it’s operated by electricity
so it was useless. When firefighters arrived
a short time later, the flames were 100
feet from the house. There was the necessary
clearance around the couple’s home,
but given the dry conditions of the current
season the property like so many others
in the area is a tinder box.
According to the Tulare County
Fire Department incident report, when
firefighters arrived the fire was about
a half-acre in size with a moderate rate
of spread. Within a few minutes, the six
engines and 12 firefighters who responded
had the blaze under control.
Annie admitted that this
time they had dodged a bullet, but it
was apparent they really were not very
well prepared in case of fire. Now, she
said, they’ve done 500 feet of clearance
and are investigating an upgrade to the
property’s water system.
“I can’t emphasize enough
how important it is for residents of Three
Rivers to have a rotary-style phone to
use in case of emergency,” Annie
said. “In a situation like this
one it always seems like the power goes
off so the plug-in phones are no help.”
Are you prepared? Fire prevention
officers will tell you that whatever you
have done do more because there are at
least two more months until the fire season
is declared over.
Local race on November
The United States presidential
election of 2008, scheduled for Tuesday,
Nov. 4, is bound to be a historic event
for several reasons. To name a couple,
it’s the first time in U.S. history
that two sitting senators will run against
each other for president and the first
time an African American will be a presidential
nominee for a major party.
But let’s not get ahead
of ourselves. The two major parties’
candidates have not yet been officially
chosen, but the presumptive nominees are
John McCain, the senior U.S. senator from
Arizona, for the Republican party and
Barack Obama, the junior U.S. senator
from Illinois, for the Democratic party.
The formality of appointing
the Democratic and Republican candidates
will occur at each party’s convention,
commencing August 25 and September 1,
But U.S. president is not
the only race that local voters will have
The Woodlake High School
board of trustees will have two vacant
seats, but there are five candidates from
which to decide. Incumbents Kent Owen
of Three Rivers and Wayne Hardcastle of
Woodlake have both filed to run again.
They are being challenged by Woodlake
residents Mack Lewis, retired school administrator;
Steve Scott Fesperman, science teacher;
and Rudy C. Carrasco, high school administrator.
The Three Rivers School board
race will not appear on the ballot. Chantel
Medeiros-Horton and Kristina Graber, the
incumbents, did not file to retain their
seats. Valerie Abanathie, retired TRUS
business manager, did file as a candidate,
so she will be appointed to the board
at the November regular meeting.
Another person who resides
within the Three Rivers Union School District
will also be appointed. The process, according
to Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent/principal,
is to notice the community that an appointment
will be made, then people may submit their
letters of interest.
After review of the prospective
appointees, the board will announce in
open session their appointment.
And to ensure compliance
with the state Education Code, this all
must occur prior to the annual organizational
meeting in December.
Tehipite Fire misbehaves
Fire jumps the line, burns
Sierra National Forest
The Tehipite Fire, ignited
by a lightning strike in July, has more
than doubled in size in the last two weeks.
The blaze, in a remote section of Kings
Canyon National Park, is currently approaching
500 acres and just recently jumped the
fireline on the southwest side along Tombstone
Leaving the park boundary
and entering into the Sierra National
Forest is now a possibility. Although
there is no threat to any inhabited areas,
park fire managers now must coordinate
their actions with another agency. The
Tehipite Valley trail in Kings Canyon
National Park is currently closed to the
The Tehipite Fire is located
just west of the Tehipite Valley. It is
burning at an elevation of 5,400 to 7,400
feet in vegetation that includes mixed
conifer and live oak. The terrain includes
steep bluffs and cliffs, making it an
extremely difficult fire to control from
Lightning fires in the backcountry
occur fairly frequently during the summer,
and if they pose no threat to lives or
property are usually monitored, but allowed
to burn naturally.
Acting much more responsibly
than the Tehipite Fire is the newly-discovered
Avalanche Fire, burning near Avalanche
Pass in Kings Canyon National Park. Located
between the Roaring River backcountry
ranger station and the Cedar Grove area,
the fire is less than an acre in size,
burning in red fir at about 9,850 feet
SEQUOIA MOUNTAIN HEALERS
it your way
by Kristi Tilchen
Massage is the manipulation
of soft body tissue to promote good health
of both the body and mind. Massage reduces
stress, relieves physical tension, improves
mental response and productivity, aids
in the prevention of repetitive stress
syndrome, increases cardiovascular efficiency,
enhances the immune system, and reduces
injury recovery time.
While most massage therapists
provide Swedish style or a light relaxing
massage, Advance Therapeutic Massage specializes
in a mix of modalities, including Swedish
but focusing on deep-tissue techniques.
Most people think of a massage
as a relaxing soothing experience, and
although you will feel relaxed and invigorated
after a session, deep-tissue massage requires
deeper manipulation of the muscles as
I work out your knots and soothe painful
Most of my clients have sore
muscles, sports injuries, or severe muscle
or joint pain. While one session will
bring some relief for injuries, often
multiple sessions are required.
I am a graduate of the Utah
College of Massage Therapy in Salt Lake
City and have been providing therapeutic
massage for 10 years. Three Rivers is
my primary work location with an office
and mobile massage services.
My Visalia office is open
one day a week, usually Wednesday or Thursday.
I am on-call for Three Rivers clients
seven days a week, including weekends
I also offer chair massage
for groups, businesses, and even wedding
parties. Gift certificates and spa gift
baskets with a one-hour massage certificate
are also available.
It is my primary goal and
foremost objective to ensure a satisfying,
relaxing, and motivational massage worthy
of a repeat performance. I enjoy what
I do and hope you will too.
For more on Advance Therapeutic
Massage go to www.deepmassage2die4.com
or call 561-6619.
is published as part of the Sequoia Mountain
Healers series. The SMH mission is to
create opportunities for enhancing health
and wellness, encourage and promote diverse
healing service, and provide a network
for health and wellbeing professionals.
Volunteers needed for
The Sequoia Foothills Chamber
of Commerce is seeking additional volunteers
to help staff the visitor information
center operated in partnership with the
Three Rivers Historical Society and located
in the Three Rivers Historical Museum.
Volunteers will provide information
to area visitors and residents about Three
Rivers businesses and recreational opportunities
in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Volunteers do not need to be an expert
on this region or the parks; the Chamber
will provide training.
Through the summer, the visitor
center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5
p.m.; hours may be shortened in the fall.
The Chamber is looking for folks who can
staff the visitor center in four-hour
shifts, one day a week. At this time,
the Chamber particularly needs folks for
shifts on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Benefits include, but are
not limited to: meeting people from around
the world in an air-conditioned office;
accessing free high-speed Internet (this
facility is now also a wireless hot spot);
free training; and learning new skills.
This is potentially a great
opportunity for home-schooled young adults
(age 16 and older, with parent), folks
needing community-service hours, and others
who care about the economic health of
Three Rivers and surrounding communities.
In addition to operating
the visitor center, the Chamber works
on a variety of projects that benefit
from volunteerism: providing exhibits
and/or information booths at fairs, festivals,
travel, and trade shows; creating outreach
publications, such as brochures or newsletters,
and upgrading the website; organizing
local events for businesses and residents;
and much, much more.
Now is the perfect time to
donate your time, learn new skills or
lend your knowledge and experience. Show
your pride in Three Rivers and the national
parks in our backyard by volunteering
your time today.
To volunteer with the Sequoia
Foothills Chamber of Commerce, contact
Tom Marshall, volunteer coordinator, at
Former Three Rivers postmaster
1927 ~ 2008
Budge, a former resident of Three Rivers,
died Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008, at his Visalia
home due to Parkinson’s disease.
He was 81.
A celebration of life service
will be held Saturday, Aug. 16, 11 a.m.,
at Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel,
127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia. Burial
will be private.
Keith was born July 10, 1927,
in Pocatello, Idaho, to Edwin J. and Mildred
Budge. When he was an infant, the family
moved to Glendale in Southern California
where Keith attended elementary school.
At age 12, he was enrolled
in the Lake Elsinore Military Academy.
The family later moved to Coalinga.
Immediately after graduating
from Coalinga High School, Keith served
as a U.S. Marine during World War II.
Upon his discharge, Keith returned to
Coalinga, where he met and, in 1951, married
Betty Dale Baker.
It was during this time that
Keith started his long career with the
U.S. Postal Service. He worked for the
post office in Coalinga for 25 years,
and the couple raised their four children
In 1981, Keith transferred
to Three Rivers where he became postmaster,
stationed at the old post office that
is currently Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs.
Immediately upon moving to
Three Rivers, Keith met Don Hise, the
former superintendent/principal of Three
Rivers School and avid flyfisherman. Keith
soon became an expert in fly fishing and
also in tying the flies used to fish.
Keith was known to barter around town,
using his flies as payment.
He also became involved in
the Three Rivers Lions Club, serving as
treasurer for several years, and was active
in the Three Rivers Gleaners, picking
and distributing fruit and vegetables
to the community.
It was under Keith’s
leadership that the petition for a new,
larger post office was approved. It was
ultimately built at its present-day location
adjacent to the Village Shopping Center.
After 17 years as the Three
Rivers postmaster, Keith retired in 1998.
In total, he worked 42 years for the U.S.
During his retirement, Keith
enjoyed fly fishing and woodworking. In
2002, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s
disease, but he didn’t let this
get in the way of his fly fishing. He
enjoyed participating in the Parkinson’s
support group in Visalia and raising money
for Parkinson’s research.
Keith and Betty continued
to reside in Three Rivers until June 2005
when they relocated to Visalia to be near
their two daughters.
Betty, Keith’s wife of 54 years,
preceded him in death in November 2005.
He continued to reside in Visalia with
his dog, Heather.
He is survived by his children,
Rick Budge of Alexandria, Va.,
Donna DeVries of Visalia (formerly of
Three Rivers), Debra Turnipseed of Visalia,
and Mike Budge of Three Rivers; grandchildren
Derek DeVries of Lodi, Jayleen McGrath
of Niceville, Fla., Jeanene DeVries of
Visalia, Justin Turnipseed of Visalia,
and Kelly Budge and sister Kara Cook of
Prineville, Ore.; and four great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family
requests that donations be made to: The
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s
Research, Attn: Tribute Gifts, Church
Street Station, P.O. Box 780, New York,
1911 ~ 2008
Lon E. Maxon of Exeter died
Wednesday, July 30, 2008, in Visalia.
He was 97.
Lon was born July 8, 1911,
in Fresno to Hat and Violet (Busby) Maxon,
of the Three Rivers pioneer Maxon family
who settled on the upper South Fork during
the 19th century.
Lon attended grammar school
in Exeter, Klink, and Reef City. He attended
high school at Visalia High School and
graduated in 1930 from Coalinga High School.
On Sept. 10, 1938, Lon married
Velda Meinzer. He worked for the Associated
Oil Company, Boeing, and Bakersfield Box
before beginning his career with the National
From 1951 to 1973, Lon worked
at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
as a backcountry trail foreman. He had
returned home to the mountains where he
had spent so much of his time as a youth.
Upon his retirement, Lon and Velda moved
to Arroyo Grande.
Lon was preceded in death
by his wife of 54 years in 1992. At that
time, he moved to Exeter to be close to
He is survived by two daughters,
Linda Peck and husband Jim, Lonna Dickey
and husband Bob; son Laren Maxon and wife
Janette; sister Zella Summers of Fresno;
seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was held
Monday, Aug. 11, in Exeter with a private
burial in the Maxon family plot at the
1926 ~ 2008
Anthony J. Hogrebe of Visalia
died Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008. He was 81.
Tony was born in 1926 to
Anthony and Olga Hogrebe in Wilkes Barre,
Penn. He served in the U.S. Army during
World War II.
In 1950, Tony married Ann
Glennon. In 1952, Tony went to work as
a project manager for the ITT Corporation
in New Jersey before transferring with
the company to Van Nuys. He retired in
1986 after 34 years with the company.
That same year, he and Ann
relocated to Three Rivers. Tony was a
member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church
in Visalia and a life member of the Veterans
of Foreign Wars-Post 3939 (Three Rivers).
Tony was preceded in death
by a brother, Edward Hogrebe, and his
sister, Olga Stecko.
He is survived by his wife
of 58 years, Ann; two sons, Anthony J.
Hogrebe Jr. and wife Elizabeth of Brea
and John Hogrebe of Visalia; and four
brothers, James Hogrebe of Aveno, N.J.,
Robert Hogrebe of Wilkes Barre, Penn.;
Lawrence Hogrebe of Venice, Fla., and
John Hogrebe of Wilkes Barre, Penn.
A memorial mass was held
Wednesday, Aug. 13, at St. Mary’s
Catholic Church. A private interment at
the Visalia District Cemetery followed.